Myths about depression often separate people from the effective
treatments now available. Friends need to know the facts. Some of the
most common myths follow:
Myth: It's normal for teenagers to be moody; teens don't suffer
from "real" depression.
Fact: Depression can affect people at any age or of
any race, ethnic, or economic group.
Myth: Teens who claim to be depressed are weak and just need to
pull themselves together. There's nothing anyone else can do to help.
Depression is not a weakness, but a serious health disorder. Both young
people and adults who are depressed need professional treatment. A trained
therapist or counselor can help them learn more positive ways to think about
themselves, change behavior, cope with problems, or handle relationships. A
physician can prescribe medications to help relieve the symptoms of depression.
For many people, a combination of psychological therapy and medication is
Myth: Talking about depression only makes it worse.
Talking through feelings may help a friend recognize the need for professional
help. By showing friendship and concern and giving uncritical support, you
can encourage your friend to talk to his or her parents or another trusted
adult, like a teacher or coach, about getting treatment. If your friend is
reluctant to ask for help, you can talk to an adult - that's what a real friend
Myth: Telling an adult that a friend might be depressed is
betraying a trust. If someone wants help, he or she will get it.
Depression, which saps energy and self-esteem, interferes with a person's
ability or wish to get help. And many parents may not understand the
seriousness of depression or of thoughts of death or suicide. It is an act of
true friendship to share your concerns with a school guidance counselor, a
favorite teacher, your own parents, or another trusted adult.
For more information, please visit the Depression
Portions of the above information has been provided with the kind permission
of the Federal Citizen Information Center (www.pueblo.gsa.gov).
Last Editorial Review: 3/13/2003